Theology – How is your walk?

One of the great joys of in-depth Bible study is researching biblical language for a greater
understanding of the author’s intentions. As English-speaking, Westernised, 21st century
culture, we are blessed to have multiple bible translations. Many of these translations have
taken the entirety of an individual’s lives to create, but sometimes the English language falls
short in grasping a wholistic understanding of any given word in Hebrew or Greek. Recently,
I have had the privilege of studying the Hebrew word Halak which is most often translated
into the English word walk.

This exercise began for me when reading Genesis 5:24 which states in the ESV, “Enoch
walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.”. This single verse should open the
reader to a multitude of questions. It is generally accepted that this verse alludes to the fact
that Enoch was spared from death and was taken into eternity in some other way, a
privilege that very few partake in within the Biblical narrative. What was so different about
Enoch that he was spared from death? This event clearly hangs on the verb ‘walked’ or in
Hebrew, ‘halak’. If Enoch is distinguished from all others by this verb, it is clearly important,
and understanding its usage throughout scripture could give insight into how we could do
the same. To do this we should define the Hebrew word and compare its usage in other
texts throughout scripture.

By definition the word can mean the following:
1. To go, walk, come (both literally and figuratively)
2. To traverse, walk about
3. To lead, to bring, to cause to walk, to carry away
The word appears in the Old Testament 498 times and as you can imagine, many times its
usage is not significant in any major way. There are, however, many uses of halak in which
one can gain understanding of what was unique about Enoch. Here are a few which I found
– Genesis 3:8 “And they heard the sound of The Lord walking in the garden in the cool
of the day…”
– Genesis 6:9 “…Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked
with God.”
– Genesis 17:1 “… The Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, ‘I am God Almighty,
walk before me, and be blameless.”
– Exodus 33:15 “and he said to him, ‘If your presence does not go with me, do not
bring us up from here.”
– Leviticus 26:12 “And I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be my
– Deuteronomy 8:18 “And if you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and
serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely

– Psalm 1:1 “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor
stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers.”
– Psalm 86:11 “Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my
heart to fear your name.”
The use of halak often coincides with a portrayal of intimacy and relationship with God. So
what was so special about Enoch, Noah, or Abraham? They had the same opportunity that
we have. The same opportunity that Adam and Eve had in the garden. The same
opportunity that the Israelites had. They all had the opportunity to halak with God.
When they did this correctly, we often see that God used them in incredible ways, and when
they did not, we see drunkenness, slavery and death.
This theme of walking in relationship with God is continued in The New Testament as seen
in 1 John 1:6-7 “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and
do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship
with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”
We are presented with a choice when it comes to the word halak. We can either halak
before God and be blameless as Abram was commanded, or we can be like the Israelites
and halak after other gods and perish. How is your halak?

By Stuart Stark